Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Creative Challenge # 77

Winging It
Originally uploaded by origami3d_cranes
It's been a long, long time since I participated in one of these challenges in the Etsy forums, but I'm glad I took on this one. The challenge was to be inspired by the word, "Flight."

"Winging It" was inspired by photos I've seen of Japanese cranes dancing and flying in the wild.

It contains 139 cranes.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Swap Meet -- Update on What Actually Happened

Swap Meet Set-Up
Originally uploaded by origami3d_cranes
Here's the photo of our swap meet booth -- before the wind really kicked up and played havoc with all of our set-ups. Our spot wasn't so great . . . only one other booth on our row as far as the eye could see, so we missed out on a lot of the foot traffic. It was great practice, though. And we did manage to educate a few new people (including one very nice man who bought something from almost every one of us-- and he also took some of the buttons and stickers that Etsy labs sent us to promote the site) -- about the handmade movement.

It was a lot of fun, more of a learning experience than anything else. I don't think any of us are ready to abandon the idea after only one try, and if nothing else, we learned how to set up a group booth!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Etsy Hawaii Street Team -- Swap Meet Sale!

Well, it's finally happening this weekend, we're going to the Aloha Stadium Swap meet on Saturday to spread the word about Etsy (and maybe sell a few things). Martha from AmorDePlata has made a wonderful sign, I hope to have pictures of everything afterward.

We'll be there from about 6 am or so, won't know the exact location until we get there. And there's a University of Hawaii football game that evening, so the swap meet will be closing at 1pm to clear out for the tailgaters. If you're in the area, stop on by and check us out!

Monday, October 1, 2007

3DCranes is Now on

After hearing so much about this site through the Etsy forums, I finally took the plunge and made a page. Indiepublic is a social networking site, kind of like MySpace for artists, designers, and people who like the "independent" arts. Personally, everything I've heard about MySpace makes it sound kind of scary, even though it's another promotion tool frequently recommended in the Etsy forums. I like IndiePublic, though, I received several welcoming messages within 24 hours of creating my page, and I now have more "friends" there than "contacts" on Flickr. Go figure. Oh, and I've already found a few of my fellow Hawaii Street Teamers there : Isabella Smiles, Keala Legacy, and Puppets and Pals.

I'll be running a separate blog on that site, and trying to keep some of the photos different from what is found on the Flickr site. Now, if there were just a few more hours in the day, so I can spend more time online as well as creating . . .

Speaking of creating, I've just listed my first new "art" piece for my Etsy shop in some time. And here it is:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So Many Things to Talk About, So Little Time

That could have been the theme of our latest Hawaii Street Team meeting. I guess that's just what happens when people have something in common -- something they love! This photo was taken near the end of the meeting, and a few people had already left. From left to right: Keala of Keala Legacy Creations, Martha of AmorDePlata Jewelery, Kathi of IsabellaSmiles, and Angela of AMK Stitches. Missing from the photo are: Barb and Earl Sasaki from SasakiCreations and Wendi from YarnConfections.

This is the very cool bookmark I got from Wendi. I know it's not the best photo (my fault). It's made from a very thin yarn, includes beads, and is "gently hand washable" according to her tag. Hmm . . . looks like I may have found something for a couple of impossible to shop for people on my Christmas list after all . . .

We discussed how to better promote our shops and Etsy, of course, and it was interesting to hear all of the different perspectives. I was able to drop off my contribution to the thank-you baskets (boxes?) that Kathi was putting together for Cindy Cha -- the reporter from the KHNL interview, and for the Etsy admin in New York -- their gift was our thank-you for putting the story of our interview up on the Etsy newsletter, the "Storque."

For Cindy's thank-you, I included one of my origami crane star ornaments, in the turquoise/silver combination. I chose that one because it closely matched a bag that Angela had brought to the interview, one that Cindy kept admiring.

For Admin, that was a little more effort. I know the theme was kind of "island stuff" like macadamia nuts, coffee, that sort of thing, but I wanted to make something a little more special. I had a little left over orange foil origami paper from my graduation leis, so I made "Etsy orange" crane star ornaments. The color scheme was inspired by the logo, orange with white lettering. I used the silver rhinestones and a thicker, white ribbon instead of the 1/8" silver or gold rattail ribbon I usually use on the ornaments.

The "Etsy Orange" ornaments got such a great response at the meeting, I've made up a few extra that I will be listing in my store, eventually. For now, though, I'm waiting to hear when the Admin gift actually ships out -- I didn't want to post the listing, or photos of their "gift" until around the time they receive it. Not that I think they're going to come across this blog . . . lots of Etsians have blogs. But you never know who might see something you put out into the wide, wild world of the internet.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What's in a name?

Not much, I hope. I can't seem to think of a name for this particular combination.

This is the first wedding bouquet I've made in some time. I was having trouble finding the right ribbon color to use. Then I managed to convince myself I really needed a name for it before I could complete it. When I listed it on Etsy, I just included all three main colors in the title -- taking the easy way out.

The bouquet is the same size as my other hand-tied bridal bouquets, and contains 265 origami cranes. I'm planning to add more color combinations soon, hopefully they'll come along easier than this one.

I'm also finally getting to work on the matching bridesmaid's bouquet for the all-red bouquet I listed last month.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree

Fortunately this is online and no one can actually hear me singing (or maybe slaughtering is a better description) that particular Christmas carol.

After the interview at KHNL (which aired last night and this morning) , I spent some time with Kathi and Angela, eating lunch and talking about, what else? Etsy! Their suggestions and comments were very useful, and have led me to begin making several changes in my shop. The retaking of the crane star ornament photos was one of them.

I love how this photo turned out. Usually I'm very critical of my photography skills, but I have to say this one is now one of my all-time favorites. I had a 4 foot artificial tree I'd purchased last year at Longs to use as decoration for holiday craft fairs, so I dragged it and the string of lights out of storage and used it for this shot.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By Special Request . . .

Kanji, Believe
Originally uploaded by origami3d_cranes
This is another result of the Mililani Hongwanji Bon Dance/Craft Fair last month. A customer there liked the look of my "Dream" kanji but wanted one that meant either "believe" or "imagine." During my research, I found "believe," but the closest I could find to imagine was "imagination." I received the go-ahead from the customer on "believe," and completed the piece on Aug. 29th.

It took 201 origami cranes using the ex-small (from 2 inch paper) size. After I finished it, I realized I probably should have used the next size up in cranes, the ones folded from the 3-inch paper. Oh, well. I like how it came out, and more importantly, so did my customer.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Television Cameras, Nerves, and Etsy

Well, I can't believe I actually agreed to it, much less did it. Kathi ( managed to get an interview with KHNL (Hawaii's NBC affiliate) for their "Let's Talk Story" segment on their news, about our Hawaii Street Team. The reporter, Cindy Cha, choose to interview 3 team members: Kathi, Angela (, and myself.

The three of us carpooled to the station yesterday and it turned out to be a good idea, since we were all pretty nervous. None of us had managed to eat much, and I think we were all a little worried that we'd do something embarrassing, like pass out, or get sick on the air. (Good thing it wasn't a live broadcast.) We also wanted to make sure we represented our team well, especially for all of the terrific members who were unable to be on the broadcast.

It was great to see everyone's items in person, too. SasakiCreations, from the Big Island, sent in some of their work for a display of merchandise that was shot. It was amazing, beautiful jewelry and gorgeous woodwork (their ikebana vase was my favorite.)

Kathi's jewelry was just as eye-catching as ever, and Angela's blankets and bibs and baby bundles were just adorable. Her Wahiawa Dole Plantation Blanket was great (even to someone like me, who doesn't like pineapples), and the lining of the blanket was super-soft. It reminded me of an old blanket I used to have as a child, the soft , snuggly "security blanket."

The reporter asked each of us different questions, and we tried our best to highlight the many wonderful aspects of Etsy, but of course, we couldn't mention them all! And we did individual product segments in addition to the group display mentioned earlier.

Anyway, none of us passed out, and Kathi has already posted a few pictures taken at the studio on her Flickr page. I forgot to take my camera with me, so I don't have any shots .

I don't know yet when the segment will air, but when it does, it will probably be on the KHNL website as well as on tv.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Well, I guess it's time. My Etsy shop has grown to three pages long -- and the four sections I had been using were no longer working to keep it really organized. I had split the shop into the most basic sections I could think of: weddings, Christmas, art, and flowers. The Christmas section in particular was getting way too large, and with the addition of the unframed art, the framed pieces in the art section were getting lost.

So, here are the new sections. Unframed Art, Framed Art, Ornament Sets, Single Ornaments, Christmas (Non-Ornament), Weddings, and Flowers.

On the to-do list is the offering of customized framing "upgrades" for the unframed pieces, that will probably get it's own section as well. I'm still working out the last details on exactly what I will be offering, so it's not on Etsy yet, but hopefully I will be able to put it up before the holiday season.

I am also working on a couple of new art pieces, and a new ornament design.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Which came first? The Crane or the Egg?

I'm paraphrasing a bit here. But in my case, it was definitely the crane first. After seeing the Faberge eggs on a History Channel special last Christmas season, I was inspired to create my own versions, using the origami cranes, of course. The first was one that used Swarovski crystal flatbacks, inspired directly by the "Coronation" Imperial Easter egg. This was the second design. As I build up to another Christmas season, I've been slowly creating different color combinations of this design.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finding my way around Flickr

I'm still learning, I'll admit that much. I only have one "contact." It's Kathi from IsabellaSmiles (one of the co-founders of the Etsy Hawaii Street Team), and she was the one who found me first. I just joined my first group: "3D Paper Art." I'm definitely not taking full advantage of all of Flickr's benefits, but I'm learning. If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them!

Update: On the Mililani Hongwanji Obon/Craft Fair
I'm glad I attended this one! Not only was it a lot of fun, but I got an early andagi fix -- usually I wait until the annual Okinawan Festival in order to indulge. Sure, there are places that sell andagi (like Napoleon's Bakery at Zippy's), but there's nothing quite like it when it's hot and fresh, just minutes out of the oil! Ooh, I know they're bad for me, but they taste so very good.

Another result of the craft fair is that I am working on a design for another kanji, this time, the one that translates into the word, "believe." I'm not sure what the Japanese word is, yet, I'm still in the research phase, but I did manage to find images of what the kanji is supposed to look like.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Christmas Ornaments are Taking Over My Shop!

Well, maybe not "taking over," but close. I now have more items in the "Christmas" section of my etsy shop than in any other, as many as the next two sections (Weddings and Art) combined. Some might think I'm rushing the season, but in truth, it's just that the ornaments are much faster to put together than the other pieces, and so get finished that much faster.

Maybe I just have to stop working on the ornaments completely, to let the others catch up. Hmmm.

On another front, I'm waiting for the rain to clear up so I can work on more picture frames. Even though my workspace is sheltered, something about working out of doors with power tools makes me a little more hesitant when the weather turns. Or maybe I'm just grasping at any excuse to procrastinate a little more . . .

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mililani Hongwanji Obon Dance/Craft Fair

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've never been to a bon dance in my life (unless you count the one time I happened to be at the Okinawan Festival when the dance started.) And, of all things, it's taking a craft fair to get me there . . .

For the last 2 years, I've been doing the Made in Hawaii Festival at the Blaisdell, but this year I decided to do something different. I had always seen the Mililani Obon/Craft fair on the calendar, but because it's always on the same weekend as Made in Hawaii, I never had a chance to attend.

The event will be held on August 17 & 18, Friday & Saturday, starting at 6:30 pm. The lantern parade and the opening ceremony will be at 7:15 Friday, with the dance itself running from 7:30-11:00. On Saturday, there will be a taiko performance 7:00-7:30, followed by the dance. The craft fair will be indoors, so if you're in the area, please stop by!

Mililani Hongwanji
95-257 Kaloapau St.
Mililani, Hawaii

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Check out the new 3DCranes on Flickr

I've been hearing a lot about Flickr on Etsy, and I finally took the plunge the other day and created an account (thanks to encouragement received at the Hawaii Street Team meeting last month). But I only started posting pictures today, partly because I've been a bit scatter-brained lately and couldn't find my thumb drive which contained my photos -- which, of course, turned out to be right where it was supposed to be the whole time. Oh, well.

Anyway, feel free to leave any comments on Flickr, and check back as I'll be updating with more photos, including shots of my "creative chaos," aka, what my husband calls my work space.

Here's the link:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Etsy Hawaii Street Team

I'm proud to say I'm now an official member of the Etsy Hawaii Street Team! This is a group of Hawaii sellers on that are "On a mission to spread Aloha to the world one creation at a time," as it says on the team blog, Our first meeting was on July 14th at Borders Bookstore in Pearlridge Center, and it was great to meet some of my fellow sellers.

Kathi ( is one of the co-founders of the team. She makes amazing jewelry that really draws the eye -- just stunning. Another co-founder, (oops, I forgot her first name) is dmollison. She makes sock puppies, sock kids, and more, all very cute. The other member that was at the meeting was Angela ( She makes all kinds of baby items, like bibs, slippery blankets, onesies (my personal favorite on her site is the one that says "Green food equals green poop"), and more, including totes.

It was great to be able to put faces (rather than Etsy member avatars) to the names. All of them were great fun to chat with, and I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot more from this team in the future.

Unfortunately, I guess the place we picked for the meeting wasn't the best (plus we forgot to describe ourselves, what we look like in real life), and so a couple of street teamers didn't make it to the meeting. I was especially disappointed that I couldn't meet Keala from, and Holly from Keala is another amazing jewelry maker (including some terrific island-inspired pieces) and I've been coveting Holly's vivid, whimsical paintings for some time -- I may just have to break down and buy one soon.

Please stop by the shops and check them out, and to find more from other members of the Hawaii Street Team, you can do a search for the tag "hi808" in the search.

Now Available: Art Unframed

I've decided to list some of my art without frames on I've done this for a couple of reasons. 1) It gives my customers the option of picking out their own frame, locally, if the black lacquer frame I normally provide wouldn't work with their home's decor. 2) It saves them on shipping costs, as well as item costs.

The first unframed art I added is the Kanji "Yume", or "Dream," in silver foil on an 8x10 velvet background. More will be coming soon.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Google Checkout

I've finally added the option for Google Checkout to my Etsy shop. Google checkout is similar to PayPal, it's a service through which an online retailer can accept payments. To celebrate the change, I've decided to run a special: 10% of any purchase $20 or more, not including shipping (One item or a combination of items) -- if you opt to pay through Google.

Google is a little more involved than PayPal, mainly because it's not yet integrated with the Etsy website. To use it, you select "Other" as a payment method, then wait for me to send you an invoice.

I know that a lot of international shoppers think they can't use Google, but it's only the sellers that are limited. Sellers have to live within the U.S. or the U.K. There's a long list of countries where buyers can sign up for the (free) service. It's on the Google Checkout website.

I've always been told that it's never good to put all of one's eggs in one basket. That was the main reason I've decided to add another checkout option. I don't want to remain completely dependent on Paypal only. Only time will tell how it works out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How to Create a Website Banner

Hmm, the title should probably say, "How to create a website banner when you're a computer dummy (Like me!)" I've been meaning to get a banner for my store for a while now, but I couldn't think of anything I actually wanted to put on the banner, especially if I took advantage of one of the services that uses your photo files to create a banner for you (Several of these services are available on Etsy, as well). Then I was playing around with the "Paint" program on my computer, trying to create a business card, when I noticed that it could be used to create a jpeg image. So with a little experimentation, this is what I came up with:

1. Under the "Images" Heading, click on "Attributes". Here you can specify what units (inches, centimeters, or pixels) will be used to size your image. Choose pixels. Then enter a size that will fit on your website. For my Etsy banner, I put in the width of 760 pixels by a length of 100 pixels. Check your website provider for the correct size for your website.

2. "Draw" your images. This does take some practice if you're not used to using Paint. If you have photos you wish to use, you can add them in by going to "Edit" then selecting, "Paste From".

3. Click on "Save As" and type in your title. Then set the file type to JPEG.

4. Save, then upload to your website.

The Etsy banner I created is now at the top of this blog, as well.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

SNS and a personal milestone

It's been a while since i participated in the Saturday Night Special promotion in the forums. Now, I probably shouldn't be spending a whole lot of time online -- I mean, today is my wedding anniversary (5 years. Wow, has it really been that long?) -- so I should be spending it with my very patient husband. But I wanted to celebrate in my store as well as in real life. So, here goes:

Saturday Night Special (SNS). Good from 5pm (EDT) to
Free shipping on all items in my shop.

Super SNS (this is where the celebration part comes in)
In addition to the free shipping, I am adding the following: Buy (or custom order) any bridal bouquet, and I will take an additional 5% off every matching bridesmaid's bouquet bought or ordered at the same time.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Great Etsy Experiment

I've always heard that the best way to get exposure for my items on is to list frequently -- something I've never done. But since it will be a while before I go to another craft fair, I have the time to try out this method. The plan is to list, or re-list, or renew an item in my Etsy store 2x a day. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon. We'll see if it helps. I plan to keep to this schedule for a full month.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Newest Projects

I finally got around to listing my kanji in frame in my Etsy store. Kanji is a chinese character used to represent a Japanese word or phrase, in this case, it represents "Ai", or love. I didn't want to make it completely flat, so I used layers of cranes to help indicate what would be the proper stroke order if it were being done in ink.

I plan to continue this particular series, and next up will be the character "Yume", meaning dream. I tried to do "Heiwa", or peace, but somehow it just didn't look right. I think were just too many overlapping "strokes" that were hard to represent in the cranes.

Also in the works is a new series of leis, made from mulberry paper. I've had some comments that my regular origami cranes leis are a bit uncomfortable to wear for those with sensitive necks, so I wanted to make something a little softer. The sheets of mulberry tissue paper are cut down to size, then folded into cranes. I haven't decided yet where it will be listed online, in my Etsy store or on my regular website.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Night Special

Yes, I've joined in the madness that is the Saturday Night Special (aka SNS) in the Etsy forums. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a group of sellers that choose to host special sales in their shops from 5pm Eastern Time on Saturday until midnight Hawaii Time (6am Eastern.) Since I'm about an hour late at posting my sale, I think I'm on page 16 of the thread . . . shows just how many sellers do participate in this!

The details of my special are posted both in the forums and in the welcome announcement on my shop page,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Unfinished business

Oh, what a procastinator I 've become! I participated in my first Creative Challenge on with #44, and #45 certainly seemed like it would be right up my alley. All I had to do was reveal a secret, or little known fact about myself in one of my works.
Okay. First thought: I don't have any secrets, not any that I'd want revealed for the whole wide world to see. Secrets . . . I was wracking my brain when the song "Masquerade" from Phantom of the Opera began playing through my head (shows what a music geek I am, but that wasn't the secret, it's a pretty well known fact).
"Masquerade! Paper faces on parade. Masquerade . . . Hide your face so the world will never find you . . ." -- from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera.
That was it! I'd make a masquerade mask from gold origami cranes. A venetian style mask that might have been worn during that scene. It would still be a secret, I thought, even though it wasn't exactly my secret.
So here it is. Already 24 hours after Challlenge #46 has been posted on the forums and I still haven't listed my mask on Etsy. It's done. I think. But it still feels like something is missing . . .

While I'm on the subject of unfinished business, I need to give a long overdue shout out to the very first customer to purchase from me: Whimsywool. I've included her address in my "Interesting Links" section below. She has the most amazing shop, full of beautiful, handspun yarn that I've been admiring from some time. Unfortunately, I could never do any of it justice. I don't know how to knit and it's much too good for mere "experimenting." Not to mention, anything made from yarn wouldn't get much use for as long as I'm living in Hawaii -- it's just too hot!